Thursday, August 23, 2007

Buy Pile Report: Everything but Astonishing

Just two months ago, I said this:

" - Ultimate Fantastic Four #43 introduced us to an Ultimate Silver Surfer (a real one, not the one from "Ultimate Extinction") and after reading, I have never been closer to saying there is no point to having an Ultimate Fantastic Four anymore. "

Well, here's a shocker for you: Ultimate Fantastic Four #45 was the best thing I read this week.

My knock on the Ultimate Universe in recent years has been a lack of originality, as well as decompression. My knock on Mike Carey's writing has been grand creative ideas that just don't end up working properly. In this singular issue, all those past problems were alleviated.

In this issue, we're dropped into the middle of a utopian-looking world, in which the Fantastic Four (as well as all of humanity) have been brainwashed to believe they all belong. In truth, as we saw in past issues, the Silver Surfer came to Earth, called Psycho Man, and Psycho Man brainwashed and transported everyone. In this one issue, we're introduced to the utopia, watch how each member of the team is treated and how each member acts, and by the end of it we're already at the point where Reed is figuring things out. It was paced perfectly, and gave just enough information about the world to make you want to see more, but know enough.

In fact, my only knock on this issue is that it was not the FIRST issue of this story arc. What if we readers were to have been dropped into this world without warning? If mysteriously Reed, Johnny, Sue and Ben were just here, and we had no idea why? Then, over the course of the story, we could discover about Surfer and PsychoMan just like the team. This story really reminds me of an arc of the original X-Factor series, and that started similarly. Still, despite my opinions, this issue was fantastic (no pun intended). Now if only this series keeps this up!

I guess this is a week of surprises, because Blue Beetle #18 was also pretty good. I'd heard plenty of good things about this title, but only just now gave it a shot, due to the crossover with Teen Titans #50 (next week). All in all, it was an enjoyable read -- a fun one-and-done adventure that pitted the Titans' new and improved lineup against Lobo (a.k.a. The Man). Best of all, it organically explained how Jamie got his introduction to his new Titans team.

The issue offered nothing especially new and nothing Earth-shattering, just snappy dialog, good action and a fun story. And isn't that what we really want, at the end of the day, from a title like Titans or Blue Beetle?

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Green Lantern Corps. #15 ... This was just more good old fashioned fighting, an all-out scrum on top of Mogo, and again, the Lanterns weren't fairing too well. If there is one singular problem with this event, it may be that the fight is too one-sided. I know at the beginning of these things, the bad guys are supposed to have the edge -- but this is a little ridiculous.

Still, that one problem is not enough to change the Sinestro Corps War from being the top event of the past year, and this comic has done nothing to change that. As always, if you want to see Hal Jordan fighting, you buy Green Lantern. The Green Lantern Corps was again a raucous all-out military affair, concerning everyone other than Hal, and you could not ask for any better writing in that genre than what Johns gives us.

All I wonder now is, with Mogo about to be compromised and Kyle Rayner Parallax and Superboy Prime still yet to do anything -- how does this get wrapped up anytime soon with the good guys winning?

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